Singapore to roll out driverless buses in three towns by 2022

Yon Heong Tung
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The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has opened a Request for Information (RFI), which will end on May 2018

It is still quite far-off, but residents and workers in three Singapore towns, Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District (JDI), will get to commute via driverless buses in 2022.

These driverless buses will, however, operate during off-peak hours.

The announcement was made by Singapore’s Transport Minister, Khaw Boon Wan, during the launch of the country’s first autonomous vehicle (AV) testing centre, located in a 2-hectare land outside the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The test centre will contain a test circuit outfitted with road features, such as rain simulators, slopes, signalled intersections, and flood zones, to mimic different traffic conditions.

There will also be six 360-degree CCTVs that will stream live video feeds to a monitoring and evaluation system.

Additionally, the Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will launch a Request for Information (RFI) from industry players and research institutions to gather insights for the 2022 launch. The RFI will end on May 31, 2018.

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Further analysis will also be gathered so authorities can learn how to refurbish or build new towns to accommodate autonomous vehicles.

This is not Singapore’s first autonomous bus initiative. Previously, LTA and ST Kinetics said it will develop and trial driverless buses, with the hope of deploying them by 2020. LTA and NTU also sought to launch autonomous bus test routes along NTU, Cleantech Park and Pioneer MRT stations.

Beyond Singapore, other countries across the globe have also been test running driverless buses, as early as two years ago. In 2015, a Chinese driverless bus successfully completed a 20-mile journey. In the US, France and Australia, different variations of driverless shuttle buses have also been piloted.

And in Japan, the government announced recently that it intents to roll out driverless shuttle buses in rural buses to help the elderly get around.

Image Credit: leungchopan / 123RF Stock Photo

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